By Ky Finds: Tawia Designs

My sneakers finally came! I ordered these bad boys before going to South Africa in hopes that they would arrive in time for my trip. Of course, they didn’t, but I can’t wait to wear them this summer. They are authentic Nike Roshe Sneakers with Dogon Mudcloth customized by Tawia Designs. I noticed Nike came out with some customized black history sneakers for Black History Month and while debating if I should get those, I came across these beautiful things. What I love is that the print comes from Ghana. A percentage of every sneaker purchased is given back to Growing Power Inc. which helps feed neighbors, nurture youth, and support sustainable communities.

If you like what you see click the link below and visit the site: http://www.tawiadesigns.com/

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By Ky Books: Why you should re-read the “Autobiography of Malcolm X” as an Adult

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It seems like growing up everyone had to read the Autobiography of Malcolm X. I can honestly say I don’t remember reading this book in full as a child and I am kind of happy I didn’t because reading this autobiography as an adult is one of the most enthralling reading experiences I’ve ever had.

Through new adult lenses, I can understand Malcolm X beyond what the world and the media tried to portray him as (a hateful radical). I see that he spoke from a lens of truth.

Malcolm’s delivery was sometimes stong and he advocated and revered Elijah Muhammad as being some sort of prophet from God (which was a hard pill to swallow as a Christian reader). However, Malcolm X is a revolutionary figure in our history and he is often overshadowed by other political figures. Continue reading “By Ky Books: Why you should re-read the “Autobiography of Malcolm X” as an Adult”

Movie Monday: “The Butler”

z6-shoji-butler-interview-a-20140214.jpgThese are our stories. OUR stories. The Butler is based on a true story of the life of Eugene Allen who was a butler for over 30-years in the White House. This movie resonated with me from the opening scene. The scene is deep although not based on Eugene Allen’s real life. A young Cecil Gaines, his mother (played by Mariah Carey), and his father (played by David Banner), are taking a picture on the cotton fields of the deep south when suddenly his mother is raped by an overseer. Cecil encourages his father to speak up on his mother’s behalf. His father tries to address the rape but is shot dead on the spot by the crazed overseer in front of his young son. This scene illustrates so many things but what rings out to me most is the dehumanization of black lives and the execution and devaluation of black bodies. Our lives meant nothing back then and it hurt watching because sometimes it seems to mean nothing now.

Ultimately Cecil’s mother goes crazy and Cecil is taken in by the Madame to be a house boy/ house slave, which sets the tone for his career. Cecil works hard and eventually lands a job in the White House as a butler, which he takes very seriously. Simultaneously he juggles being a husband and a father to his two young sons. One of his sons being a revolutionary who is deeply apart of the struggle for Civil Rights, a far cry from  Cecil’s temperament.

This movie tugged on my heartstrings for many reasons. For one, it does a great job with representing the times and the tones of the day, from Emmett Till’s death to the Civil Rights Movement, to the Black Panthers Movement, to the Apartheid struggle in South Africa, and it does it so well. Secondly, one of the most defining moments for me in the movie was Cecil finally coming to consciousness. He realized that after years of playing the “contented negro” he deserved more for his life and he needed to fight for it. This movie resonated with me in my own life. Never be afraid to demand what you want and never settle for a situation when you know you deserve more. Always strive to be your very best self but also remain humble. Cecil was a humble and hard-working man and I admire his work ethic and his contribution. He broke barriers and paved the way for us which is a powerful thing.

This movie is currently playing on Netflix which is where I watched it.

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Confronting My History

This is what happened when I decided to confront my history in one day.

January 18, 2016

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, I had the day off and decided to watch all of the black historical films that I’ve been avoiding since the year 2012.

First, let me explain my avoidance. These films as a black person are just hard to watch. They are completely necessary to watch but hard nonetheless. I take on the emotional burdens of these historical films depicting Slavery or the Civil Rights Movement. My mind does not allow me to separate between this being a movie, made by Hollywood, from the fact that this Hollywood made movie is a depiction of actual events and occurrences that took place in the past, and so I watch these films as if these movies are real and I am emotionally burdened by it all.

In spite of this, I just decided I wanted to be radical and not just watch one of these movies but all of them in one sitting. I wanted to watch D’Jango Unchained, 12-Years A Slave, The Butler, and Selma (if I had time, I would’ve thrown in the Malcom X movie). I dived headfirst. I started with Selma because it was MLK Day. Selma had a few rough scenes that shook me to my core and made me cry. The police ruthless beatings with the batons, the violence, the hatred, the disrespect, it messed with me but I kept going.

Next up, I tried to find 12-Years A Slave. I couldn’t find it on Hulu or Netflix. My friends later told me, God spared my mind because that movie is a hard one. One day I will come back to it.

Then I watched D’Jango which was interesting. I liked it. It showed a black man empowered during slavery even though he was a murderer…hmm. What I hated most about this movie was the dog scene where a runaway slave was torn apart by dogs. This was a practice of slave masters during slavery, it just hurt so bad to watch.

The Butler, was next on my list. I was surprised by how great this movie was. It’s really powerful. The opening scene is a tearjerker. The rape and murder of Cecil Gaines parents illustrate how dehumanized black lives were during this time. Cecil Gaines worked hard and made his way into the White House, but he resented his eldest son who was a part of the struggle. His son was a part of the civil rights movement, the freedom rides, the Black Panther movement, and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. These historical references added so much substance to the movie and illustrated just how challenging the times were. Certain parts of this movie hurt to watch. Cecil constantly fought to get paid equally as the other white butlers but was shut down and told he could quit. His work as a domestic although underestimated and looked upon as uncle tom’ ish made a huge contribution to the plight of our race and I thank him for his work and the work of many black domestics of our times just trying to make a living for their families.

January 19, 2016

By the time I watched all three of these movies I was emotionally beat. I tried to go to sleep but I couldn’t. Continue reading “Confronting My History”

Movie Monday: What Happened, Miss Simone?

I enjoyed learning about the life and times of Nina Simone, one of the most influential singers…ever. At the height of Simone’s career, she began to take part in the civil rights movement, which some say jeopardized her because she became too radical.

What I loved about this documentary is that it humanizes Simone and shows her vulnerabilities and her demons. Unlike many other entertainers, she couldn’t sit back idly and do nothing. She was very involved in the struggle of liberating blacks in America from the chains of racism and oppression.

If you have Netflix, watch What Happened, Miss Simone?

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